Why local? Why organic?

If you’re already a fan of farmers markets, then you know. But what if you’ve never had the experience. Are you wondering what the big deal is really all about? Isn’t this thing just another fad? Well, if you think living a healthier life in a more vibrant, more financially stable, more diverse community is a fad, then perhaps. But just consider a few of the reasons most find compelling to at least give it a go.

Time was when we marveled at the option of dining on exotic fruits and vegetables from distant locales. Once schooled in the notion that processed, pre-cooked, uniformity in food was a good thing, we bought mass-produced, pre-formed, packaged foods, just like we bought little boxes on the hillside made of ticky-tacky that all looked just the same, and cars that slurped gas like there was not tomorrow. Well, welcome to tomorrow.

More than just a trend, farming is a lifestyle many are embracing once again, only in smaller, more individual, more independent ways. Farmers and the markets they fuel have emerged in explosive numbers across the U.S. over the past ten years. Demand has more than kept up. Why?

Economy. When you buy local food, much more of the money from the sale of those products stays in the community. You support local farmers and producers, strengthening local economies, maintaining and creating local jobs.

Taste. Food from sources closer to the point of sale tastes fresher, retaining more nutritive value.

Oil. Transporting local goods to market uses tons less gasoline than shipping things thousands of miles, minimizing the need for importing fuels and the result their use has on air, water and land.

Chemistry. Many local producers are minimizing or eliminating the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers in their practices, providing products that are free of potentially harmful compounds. Such practices also save air, water and land from contamination by those chemicals, reducing the chance of the need for emergency actions or eventual clean up.

Getting in touch with real food again, as opposed to a carbon copy of it, processed and packaged beyond recognition of its parent state has intrinsic benefits of social interaction as well. Farmers markets are a combination of errands and social events, with neighbors getting to know producers, set in a vibrant mix of color, scent, and atmosphere.

The Sun Valley Harvest Festival is a celebration of all of the above, embracing a healthy, social, responsible, community-based experience with education, entertainment and inspiration.

Whether you’re a devout health nut, a moderate fan, or a complete neophyte to the world of real fruit, vegetables and proteins, the Harvest Festival offers an opportunity to learn new tricks, share knowledge and have some fun. We promise you’ll be surprised by how good this all tastes, how easy it is to prepare healthy, sumptuous fare, and how much shopping locally does for a community.

by Kathleen Turner

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